Full name: Michael Fred Phelps
Nickname: The Baltimore Bullet
Nationality: United States
Stroke(s): Butterfly（蝶泳）, Individual Medley（个人混合泳）, Freestyle（自由泳）, Backstroke（仰泳）
Date of birth: June 30, 1985
Place of birth: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Height: 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight: 200 pounds (91 kg)
Everything Was Accomplished
Michael Phelps won eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympic Games, and said his every aim had been achieved.
“Everything was accomplished,” Phelps said.“Doing all best times, winning every race.”
For the fiercely competitive Phelps, there was also the satisfaction of proving the doubters wrong.
“The greatest thing is proving nothing is impossible,” Phelps said.“So many people said it couldn’t be done, but all it takes is an imagination. That is something I have learned.”
At the age of 23, Phelps has set a record for the total number of medals won by a male Olympian with 16. ( In Athens four years ago, Phelps won six gold medals and two bronzes.)
“Michael Phelps—you can’t put it in words what he has done here, his level of achievement is phenomenal2 and I don’t think it will ever be seen again,”said Australian distance great Grant Hackett.
When her son was in grade school, Deborah Phelps was told by one of his grade school teachers,“your son will never be able to focus on anything.”
That boy grew up to be swimming superstar Michael Phelps, and that assessment, to put it mildly, has not turned out to be so.
As a little boy, said the mother, he asked 25 zillion3 questions, always wanting to be the center of attention. If he wasn’t zooming by4 on his big-wheel tricycle, he was swinging past on the monkey bars5.
In the elementary grades, Ms. Phelps said, Michael excelled in things he loved— gym and hands-on6 lessons, like science experiments.
She will never forget one teacher’s comment: “This woman says to me, ‘Your son will never be able to focus on anything.’ ”
His grades were B’s and C’s and a few D’s.
It was a tough period. Ms. Phelps and her husband were divorcing. She had just gone back to school to get a master’s degree to become an administrator7, she said.
Michael grew like crazy, but not evenly —his ears looked huge, and when he ran, his arms swung below his knees. Kids bullied him, and when he whacked8 one on the school bus, he was suspended9 from the bus for several days.
When he was in fifth grade, during his annual check-up, Ms. Phelps and the family physician, Dr. Charles Wax, discussed whether Michael might have ADHD10—attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
The doctor suggested sending assessment forms to his teachers. Their consensus11: Can’t sit still, can’t keep quiet, can’t focus.
At age 9, Michael was put on Ritalin12, a stimulant13 used to treat hyperactivity.
His mother thinks it helped a little. “He seemed to be able to focus longer,” she said.
After two years, Michael asked to come off the meditation14.
“Out of the blue15, he said to me, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore, Mom. I can do this on my own.’”
“From Day 1, I included my children as part of the decision process. So I listened.” she said.
After consulting with Dr. Wax, Michael stopped medication.
By then, the Phelpses were a swimming family. (Michael’s older sister Whitney at 15 was ranked first in the country in the 200-meter butterfly, though her career would be cut short by a back injury.)
In the meantime, Michael the swimmer had appeared. By 10, he was ranked nationally in his age group. Ms. Phelps watched the boy who couldn’t sit still at school sit for four hours at a meet waiting to swim his five minutes’ worth of races.
When Michael was 11, his swim coach at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club, Bob Bowman—still his coach—took the Phelpses aside and talked about Michael’s gift. “Bob says,‘By 2000, I look for him to be in the Olympic trials,’ ” recalled Ms. Phelps. “ ‘By 2004, he makes the Olympics. By 2008, he’ll set world records. By 2012, the Olympics will be in ...’—I said, ‘Bob, stop, he’s 11, he’s in middle school.’ ”
As it turned out, the boy would move four years faster than his coach’s prediction.
By 15, in 2000, he was at the Olympics; at 16 he had his first world record; and by 19, at the 2004 Olympics, he had won 8 medals, 6 of them gold.
Of all his mental gifts, the one that amazes his mother the most is this: “Michael’s mind is like a clock. He can go into the 200 butterfly knowing he needs to do the first 50 in 24.6 to break the record and can put that time in his head and make his body do 24.6 exactly.”